Collagen is a form of protein found in animals, especially mammals. It is thread-like or stringy by temperament and constitutes 25 to 35 per cent of the entire protein content in the body. Collagen is the most important protein of the connective tissues. In other words, it attaches as well as sustains the body tissues like skin, tendons, bone, muscles and cartilage. In fact, collagen also sustains the internal organs and is also found in teeth. It comprises one to two per cent of the muscle tissues and makes up six per cent of the weight of muscles consisting of tendons. The human body comprises of more than 25 different naturally occurring kinds of collagens.

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Although found in all animals, collagen is the most plentiful protein present in mammals.  As it is the major protein present in the connective tissues, it possesses immense firmness and is the most important constituent of ligaments and tendons. At the same time, the suppleness of our skin depends on collagen and its debasement results in wrinkles and other skin conditions associated with the aging process. It is interesting to note that collagen is also present in the eyes where it forms the cornea and is crystalline in nature. Collagen also forms an important element in plastic surgery, such as in lip augmentation or lip enhancement. Many people often denote collagen as an adhesive that retains the different organs of the body collectively. Literally speaking, the absence of collagen may lead the body to disintegrate.

Collagen, which possesses tremendous firmness, performs in a way that is entirely different from various other forms of protein present in our body. For instance, collagen is present both within as well as on the outer surface of the cells. The fibrous collagen performs an important role in maintaining the peripheral construction of the cells.

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Collagen and elastin operate in close association with each other while sustaining the tissues of the body. Normally, collagen is accountable for giving a structure to the body tissues as well as providing them with strength and potency. On the other hand, elastin provides the much needed suppleness to the same body tissues. Such a blend of collagen and elastin is crucial in many organs of the body, such as the lungs, tendons and the bones etc. It is significant to note that even the blood vessels depend on collagen as well as elastin.

The mention of collagen comes up over and again while discussing matters related to the skin. This particular form of protein functions in association with keratin to make the skin well-built, flexible and resilient. However, when the aging process sets in people, the collagen content in them starts degrading resulting in wrinkles and other skin disorders associated with aging. In fact, collagen is a vital material for people who are always searching for methods to combat the noticeable consequences of the aging process on their skin. In fact, there are a number of skincare specialists or dermatologists who recommend their patients different methods that help to rouse the production of collagen within the skin cells.

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Apart from being a very essential element of the human body, this form of fibrous protein also has numerous therapeutic utilities. Collagen forms an important substance in many cosmetic surgical processes and is also available in the drug stores and pharmacies as an enhancement developed to facilitate mobility of joints. In addition, collagen is also used in curing and taking care of severe burn injuries. Owing to this special feature of this fibrous protein, collagen forms an important ingredient in many synthetic skin replacements.

Owing to their constant training schedules, in comparison to their inactive counterparts, athletes impart considerably larger 'ground reaction forces'. Such ground reaction forces are mainly taken in by the joints in the body and, over a period of time, this may cause degradation of the joints. This is why every athlete as well as fitness buffs ought to welcome any nourishing means that helps to augment the shock-absorbing competence of the joints to avoid injuries and also enable them to undertake continuous as well as very intense training.

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As it has been found that collagen hydrolysate puts forth an anabolic result (promotes tissue growth) on the cartilage tissue, hypothetically it is understood that collagen hydrolysate helps to promote the structure as well as integrity of the joints in athletes, which is responsible for lessening joint aches.

Pursuing this hypothetical rationale, scientists at the Penn State University undertook a 24-week study to investigate the impact of collagen hydrolysate on joint pain related to activities in athletes, who were not only very active physically, but also did not have any evidence related to joint diseases. During the course of this study, the scientists evaluated joint aches, inflammation and mobility of the participants. The participating athletes were divided in two groups and while one group were given 25 ml liquid preparation enclosing 10 grams of collagen hydrolysate, the other group received a liquid placebo in the same measure. When the study concluded after 24 weeks, the researchers found that there were notable changes in several parameters in the case of athletes taking collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in comparison to those receiving placebo.

Athletes who were given collagen hydrolysate reported that they suffered lesser joint aches when at rest; when standing and walking; while carrying objects or lifting.

The findings of this 24-week study suggest using collagen hydrolysate in order to promote the health of the joints as well as probably lessen the chances of suffering from joint deterioration in the case of people who face high risk as well as to enable us to benefit from further activity and more intensity in our lives as well as work-outs.

Moreover, the study undertaken by researchers at the Penn State University also encourages people to take collagen hydrolysate orally with a view to decrease the parameters (such as pain) which negatively affect the performance of athletes.

Collagen deficiency

Collagen is composed of protein cells that are present on the skin. The softness as well as the completeness of our skin tissues is attributable to collagen. Besides the skin, collagen is also present in the muscles tissues, internal organs, cartilage, tendons as well as teeth in different degrees. As many as 20 dissimilar varieties of collagen are present in our body and they make up roughly one-fourth of the entire proteins found in the body. Any decrease in the production of collagen in our skin makes the skin to sag and have wrinkles. Dearth of collagen may possibly cause an extensive variety of health problems as well as symptoms.

As collagen is a vital constituent of our body and is useful in several ways, insufficiency of this form of protein may lead to different types of problems. In effect, a number of genetic disorders are linked with deficit of collagen in our body. For instance, osteogenesis imperfecta that is normally mentioned as brittle bones disease is a result of acute collagen deficiency. The symptom occurs when there is a drastic fall in the intensity of collagen in the body. In addition, the disease may also occur when the quality of collagen present in the body is below standard.

As we age, we may naturally suffer from collagen deficiency. Deficit of collagen happens to be a part of our aging process. Moreover, it has been found that specific disorders related to connective tissues are also associated with a deficit of collagen in the body, for instance, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatic fever, systemic lupus and others.

The symptoms of collagen deficiency are entirely subject to the kind of collagen tissues that are involved with the condition. In the case of skin collagen being involved, the symptoms will comprise wrinkles, sagged skin and an inclination to easily form scars. On the other hand, if the deficit of collagen occurs in the muscles, the symptoms may include debility of the muscles, joint aches as well as tenderness.


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